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June 06, 2016

Amid Board Turmoil, Hershey Trust Puts Top Lawyer on Leave

As the Hershey Trust negotiates with Pennsylvania officials seeking to remove three of its board members, the embattled $12 billion organization has placed its top in-house lawyer on administrative leave, The Philadelphia Inquirer and PennLive report.

Marc Woolley, who also serves as the trust’s secretary and chief compliance officer, authored letters and memoranda in recent months that raised concerns about board dysfunction at the trust, which funds and administers the Milton Hershey School for impoverished youths in Derry Township, Pa. A Hershey Trust spokesman said Mr. Woolley was on leave “while a determination is made about his continued employment” but declined further comment.

One memo Mr. Woolley wrote in September recounts a conversation in which Robert Cavanaugh, then the trust’s chairman, allegedly discussed a plan to “take out” rival board members he said had “run a smear campaign against him.” The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has asked the trust to unseat Mr. Cavanaugh and two other long-serving board members by July 31 under the terms of a 2013 agreement arising from a series of financial scandals at the organization.